By Brandon Montclare, Rosi Kampe, Ollie Masters, Carlo Barberi, Israel Silva, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Ian Herring
Annuals are generally low-key affairs. Not much happens in them and it’s a distraction from the “important” things that are actually happening in the series. This week brings us Extraordinary X-Men Annual #1 and there are two stories in this annual; one that focuses on the team breaking two mutants out of a British prison as the Terrigen cloud descends on them, and a short story involving Moon Girl and Forge.
The first story is written by Ollie Masters. As far as filler stories are concerned, this was actually fun. It was nice to see another writer’s take on the team. Masters does a nice job of putting Jean in a leadership role. This may have all been Storm’s plan, but Jean really takes charge and gets all the troops in line by coming up with a plan to effectively rescue the two mutants. Even though little is known about Ruckus and Ramrod, Masters has them come off as very likable characters in their brief appearance. They crack jokes and play off of Old Man Logan well. Brandon Montclare handles the second story in the annual, which focuses on Moon Girl and Forge. While this story was kind of cute, nothing much really happened. There may have been an agenda to show Forge, a mutant, working with Moon Girl, an Inhuman. While it was fun to see a little bit of Moon Girl’s personality in this issue, there isn’t nearly enough of it. Monteclare showing Forge give up as a terrigen cloud approaches seems a bit odd. When mutants are almost extinct, to see Forge act like this seems very out of character.
The pencils in the first story are handled by Carlo Barberi with colors by Israel Silva and Rachelle Rosenberg. Carlo Barberi does a wonderful job on pencils in this first story. Under Barberi’s pencil, many of the characters look great, and Old Man Logan has a sweet set of mutton chops. Pixellated images of the men from the British government look excellent as Barberi takes the time to show them like a roughed up holographic image. The prison riot scene is also handled well as fists flying and melee is shown without any detail lost on the characters. The colors by Silva and Rosenberg match the wonderful effort put forth by the pencils. Everything down to the hue of the pink in Ruckus’ hair is done well for the first story. The pencils on the second story are handled by Rosi Kampe and colored by Ian Herring. This is a different style of art from the first story, for sure, as it’s a bit grittier and rough around the edges. The pencils by Kampe are fine, but they are hurt by their proximity to the gorgeous and smooth pencils in the first story. The colors by Ian Herring are also a little different; it almost feels like he colored this with crayons. They’re not bad, just a different from the norm style.
Extraordinary X-Men annual #1 was pretty fun breather from the serious tone of the regular issues. There is some excellent art and some art different from the norm art, but whatever your cup of tea, if you like the characters, you should like this annual.